He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it. (Revelation 2:17 NASB)
Immediately when I read this verse I hear Nancy Rowe playing the organ at the First Baptist Church of La Mesa where I grew up. I hear a vigorous congregation singing ” There’s a new name written down in glory and it’s mine oh yes it’s mine. And the white robed angels tell the story, a sinner has come home”. Oh how I love those precious hymns full of doctrine and truth. Through the years I learned a great deal about my Christian walk through the verses of these dear songs.
When my nephew Colton Dean was killed we all went as a family to the accident site. He was killed in a remote part of the back country when he got distracted by something in his truck and the front wheels of the vehicle rolled on to the train tracks. There are no semaphore arms or lights at the crossing; you are just supposed to know it’s there.
As the tires rolled up on to the track his truck was struck by the train and thrown into a large fence. He was dead on impact. My niece’s husband made a beautiful and substantial cross to put at the site. We gathered around, held hands and they asked me to pray. Honestly that was the most difficult yet easiest prayer I have ever prayed. Difficult because I was holding his momma’s hand and she was crying and shaking. Easy because I knew Colton was safely in the arms of Jesus and in the company of many loving relatives who had gone before.
After wiping the tears away we all stood there and talked. Some walked around, some started clearing debris, all of us had tears. The cross was beautiful. As I traversed the area I was actually looking for a penny. There had been one there because his mom pointed out an impression in the dirt. You could clearly see Abe Lincoln’s profile. Trusting God at the death site of an 18 year old boy with so much life in him is a tall order. Who can ever understand that except to say that I believe in the sovereignty of almighty God.
Looking down I found two smooth white stones. I picked them up and put them in my pocket. Stones of remembrance. Not that I wanted to be morbid and remember a horrific crash site but I wanted to remember us, his family, standing together holding hands lifting our prayers to God on the very place his soul left the earth. It was a precious time and will be forever in my heart.
God gave the apostle John, the disciple Jesus loved as he refers to himself in the book he wrote, the vision on the Isle of Patmos to write the Revelation. Here in verse 17 he tells us of hidden manna that we who are overcomers will receive in heaven. The manna is what God fed the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. We get to taste it! That is exciting to me. To read about this mysterious provision that appeared fresh each morning packed with life sustaining nutrients so they could survive always intrigued me.
Along with that delight we are going to receive a white stone. On this stone will be a name that only we will understand. Only the one who receives it will know it. God the Creator has a new name for you, the one who overcomes. I cannot begin to fathom what that could be in human terms because His ways are not our ways. In my finite mind I am thinking words like Faithful, Gracious, True, Hospitable, Merciful, Knowledge but I am pretty sure they will be a heavenly language we will only know as soon as He places that memorial in our hand. Oh the joy of the thought of what awaits us in heaven! Mana, white stone, new name, talking to people we’ve met in the bible (some we know by heart) and finally get to meet, streets of gold, mansions, but most of all face to face with Jesus for eternity. It is all too wonderful to take in. Makes me want to just shout GLORY! So – be my guest and 1, 2, 3, GLORY! Be amazed, be blessed.